Categories
INSPIRE

New Orleans Pays It Forward To Houston

It’s hard to believe that twelve years ago this week Hurricane Katrina walloped New Orleans creating widespread destruction, and here we are again watching Houston being pummeled by a hurricane, lingering rains and flooding of historic proportions.

I remember that Labor Day weekend in 2005 planning a fund raising campaign with The James Beard Foundation, Alex Brennan Martin from Brennan’s Houston and Southern Foodways Alliance Director John T. Edge to create a relief fund to help restaurant and hotel workers displaced by  Katrina.

This time it’s New Orleans rallying to help Houston. I reached out to Ti Adelaide Martin and Lally Brennan early this morning asking how they were, how Alex and the family in Houston were coping and how we could help. I’m glad I did because the Fearless Fabulous Brennans were already cooking up a plan with the Louisiana Restaurant Association and Greater New Orleans Foundation.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of our friends and colleagues living in Houston, or who have family living there. Let’s rally behind them.

Here is what Ti sent us. Please share and contribute:


The Louisiana Restaurant Association and Ti Martin of Commander’s Palace have teamed up with the Greater New Orleans Foundation to activate the Hurricane Harvey Hospitality Employee Relief Fund. The relief fund will donate individual grants to restaurant and hotel workers who are in need during this trying time.

“After Hurricane Katrina, the Houston community was there for New Orleans and we’ll never forget it. Alex Brennan Martin started the New Orleans Hospitality Workers Disaster Relief Fund and it raised and gave away over a million dollars in small grants to help individuals in New Orleans. Today, we are returning the favor,” shares Ti Martin.

If you or an organization you know are looking to support our industry, please visit www.gnof.org/give-now/ and specify your donation is for the “Hurricane Harvey Hospitality Employee Relief Fund.” If the donor prefers to send a check, please make it out to the Greater New Orleans Foundation and mail it to 919 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130.  #withlovefromnola

Categories
Cookbook Drink Eat THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

Miss Ella Shares Her Story

“I Don’t Want a Restaurant Where a Jazz Band Can’t Come Marching Through.”- Ella Brennan

Many of you know we have love affair with the City New Orleans and its very special way of life. Well, no one embodies cialisfrance24.com “New Orleans Living” more than Miss Ella Brennan, matriarch of the Brennan family. And no one defines New Orleans hospitality like a Brennan. The Brennan family truly is America’s dining dynasty. If you’ve never seen this 2014 Silver Spoon Award feature on the Brennan family in the late Food Arts Magazinehere is a link.

 

Miss Ella of Commanxder's Palace- book

“Miss Ella reveals what makes her strong, ambitious and occasionally a blubbering mess”

Miss Ella turned 91 this month. There’s a new book and a new documentary film out about her life called “Miss Ella of Commander’s Palace.” It’s a great read with a frank, sometimes funny and very poignant voice featuring Miss Ella, her co author and daughter, Ti Adelaide Martin, sister Dottie and various Brennan siblings and cousins, as well as food industry luminaries like Danny Meyer, Jeremiah Tower, Emeril Lagasse and Tim and Nina Zagat sharing stories. Ti said it took some convincing to  get Ella to write the book! Trust us! It’s a love letter to New Orleans with lesson on what sharing and giving true hospitality really means.

Ti Adelaide Martin
Ella Brennan’s daughter, Ti Adelaide Martin, is co-proprietor of Commander’s Palace, SoBou, Cafe Adelaide and the Swizzle Stick Bar, all in New Orleans

Both Miss Ella and Ti Adelaide Martin, joined us December 7 for a delightful and spirited visit. Listen at this this link or click below.

Buy “Miss Ella of Commander’s Palace” here:

 

Categories
Eat THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

The Creole Queen- Still Cooking at 93- July 20 on The Connected Table LIVE!

She’s called “The Queen of Creole Cuisine.” And we are honored to have a seating with this amazing lady who is truly Louisiana culinary royalty this week in New Orleans when we head to Tales of the Cocktail.

That’s right! We’re visiting with the venerable Ms. Leah Chase, owner of New Orleans landmark Dooky Chase Restaurant on our July 20th edition of The Connected Table LIVE!

Ms Leah Chase
Ms Leah Chase

Born in 1923, one of 14 children, in Madisonville, Louisiana, Leah moved to New Orleans to live with an aunt to pursue her education since there were no high schools for black children after the sixth grade. She juggled some pretty interesting jobs for a woman back in those days to make a living including managing two amateur boxers and becoming the first woman to mark the racehorse board for a local bookie. And she waited tables in the French Quarter where she caught the restaurant bug.

Leah married New Orleans musician Edgar “Dooky” Chase in 1946. Together they took over the po’boy and lottery stand opened by Dooky’s dad in 1941 and turned it into a full service restaurant. Dooky Chase has been the gathering place for political titans, food cognoscenti, literary lions and dedicated locals ever since. During the Civil Rights movement it was the only public place in New Orleans where mixed race groups could meet to discuss strategy. Maybe thought leaders need to gather at Dooky Chase for a soul nourishing meal and to discuss how to heal the challenges today faced in our nation.

Leah Chase is said to have chided President Obama for putting hot sauce in his gumbo. (photo from Dooky Chase Restaurant website)
Just about every U.S. president has dined at Dooky Chase. Leah Chase is said to have chided President Obama for putting hot sauce in his gumbo. (photo from Dooky Chase Restaurant website)

At 93, Leah is still behind the stove and Dooky Chase, lovingly restored after being devastated by Hurricane Katrina, remains a hot spot on the New Orleans culinary trail. Leah has received numerous honors for her work in the community, in civil rights and for her role in American’s culinary heritage. She’s even been the inspiration for a Disney’s Princess; Tiana in Princess and the Frog. This past May, Leah was honored with the James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award, and this Dooky Chase restaurant celebrated its 75th anniversary. That’s more than a lifetime for any restaurant!

DOOKY CHASE
Dooky Chase Restaurant has been a gathering place for generations of families, politicians, entertainers, writers and food lovers since 1941  www.dookychaserestaurant.com

We visited Ms Leah at Dooky Chase July 20 and enjoyed a delicious conversation about her life along with heaping portions of fried chicken. You could call it Ms. Leah’s “Fried Chicken for the Soul!” Listen here and share!

 

Categories
Drink

A Dash of Sass, Spice and Sparkle- New Orleans Bartender Abigail Gullo

We have many reasons to love New Orleans, from the amazing food and architecture to the southern hospitality and good friends and family. It’s our home away from home, and we always find reasons to return as often as we can and look forward to attending the annual Tales of the Cocktail conference each summer (July 20-24 this year)

We enjoy visiting Chef Nina Compton’s Compère Lapin for the Carribbean spiced food and to see the smiling face of Abigail Gullo who tends to her bar and to her customers with the same generous enthusiasm. A transplant from the North, Abigail’s colorful style and charm fit right at home in the Big Easy.

During our interview with Abigail we learned her theatrical training (her college major) has served her well on her current stage, the bar, where she says she’s learned to listen to her customers and read  person’s body language to decide what cocktail to make.

When Abigail’s not behind the bar at Compère Lapin she’s behind her computer screen blogging at www.ryegirlnyc.blogspot.com, petting her dog, Ronnie, and dreaming of singing in a rock-n-roll band.

ABIGAIL GULLO PHOTO
Abigail was recently named Heaven Hill Brands Bartender of the Year, winning $15,000. Now that’s heavenly!

Wednesday, July 13, 2pmEST, on The Connected Table LIVE! on W4CY.  Listen here one the iHeart.com and the free iHeart App.

 

THE CONNECTED TABLE BANNER WITH TIMES

Categories
Drink

Toddy Tales

When the cold or flu hits me (as it did last October), I crave a warm Toddy. By definition a Toddy is a hot drink of  whiskey, sugar and water. But in the right hands, it is much more. It’s hot magic in a glass.

According to cocktail historian and author, Dave Wondrich, the Toddy originated in 18th century Scotland. You can read more in this article he wrote in Saveur magazine entitled “Thank God for Toddies!”

from "Thank God for Toddies" by Dave Wondrich, Daveur Magazine. Photo: Sarah Karnasiewicz
from “Thank God for Toddies” by Dave Wondrich, Saveur Magazine. Photo: Sarah Karnasiewicz

Thank God, indeed! Drinking a Toddy when you feel like hell can be a heavenly thing. The whiskey opens the sinuses; the warm liquid soothes the chills; the sugar (or honey) makes everything go down a little softer.

We’re talking Toddies with two masters of the bar who are participating in the 10th Annual Tales of the Toddy taking place December 17th at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans: Chris Hannah, French 75 at Arnaud’s Restaurant, and Cole Newton, Twelve Mile Limit. – Melanie Young

Chris hannah
Chris Hannah
Cole Newton
Cole Newton

 

Tune in Wednesday, December 16, 2:28pmEST (That’s 1:28 CST for our New Orleans friends) live on W4CY.com. Show podcasts can be found anytime on iHeart.com and the iHeart App.

Follow us on Twitter@connectedtable and Facebook/TheConnectedTable
Follow us on Twitter@connectedtable and Facebook/TheConnectedTable

 

Categories
Eat Explore

New Orleans Strong- A Visit with Ralph Brennan

New Orleans is Cooking again!- Bananas Foster at Brennan's
New Orleans is cooking again!- Bananas Foster at Brennan’s

It’s hard to believe that Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast with its eye on New Orleans 10 years ago August 29th. At the time we were planning a major dining and wine event for following February the following year which sadly was cancelled. The aftermath left many of our restaurant friends recovering for months, and people were still living scattered here and there.

Flash forward to 2015: New Orleans is back on its game and its restaurants are better than ever as noted in this New York Times article. Media outlets around the country are focusing their eyes on “The Storm’s 10th Anniversary,” but we never lost sight of New Orleans and neither did its staunchest supporters, its restaurateurs.  One of the first restaurants granted a license to reopen was Ralph Brennan’s Redfish Grill.

There's nothing like a New Orleans crawfish boil!
There’s nothing like a New Orleans crawfish boil!

Ralph Brennan is a third generation member of a family whose name, Brennan, is synonymous with New Orleans cuisine. The flagship French Quarter restaurant, Brennan’s, founded by his grandfather was Ralph’s playground where he worked as a prep cook during high school summer vacations. After earning his MBA and working as a CPA for Price Waterhouse for eight years, Ralph returned to the family business.

Ralph Brennan
Ralph Brennan

Today, The Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group includes the recently renovated (2014) Brennan’s, Red Fish Grill, Ralph’s on the Park, cafe b in Metarie and cafe NOMA within the New Orleans Museum of Art, well as restaurants in Disneyland. he is a co-owner of Commander’s Palace and Brennan’s in Houston. And he’s acquired the venerable 200-year-old Napoleon House in the French Quarter, best known for its Pimm’s Cups and Muffulettas as well as a mighty fine Sazerac.

brennans exterior

Categories
David Ransom Drink Eat Explore Melanie Young THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

In the Land of Cocktails with Lally Brennan and Ti Adelaide Martin

If you have tuned into our iHeart Radio show, The Connected Table LIVE!, you know that we love New Orleans. Maybe it’s the sweet southern air. Maybe it’s the moist hot humidity. Maybe it’s the iconic food and drink culture. Maybe it’s spirit of the city that conveys “Pleasure is Good.” We consider New Orleans our spiritual- and spirited- home.

Lally Brennan and Ti Adelaide Martin
Lally Brennan and Ti Adelaide Martin

It there is one name in New Orleans dining that stands heads above others it is “Brennan.” There are several branches of the Brennan family tree running different restaurant operations. Two of our favorite ladies of the Brennan family are Lally Brennan and first cousin Ti Adelaide Martin, who together oversee Commander’ s Palace, Café Adelaide and the Swizzle Stick Bar at the Loews hotel and Sobou at the W Hotel in the French Quarter, as well as Brennan’s in Houston. Visiting with them is like seeing family.

Mardi Gras Cocktai Commander's Palace
Mardi Gras Cocktai
Commander’s Palace
The Adelaide Swizzle The Swizzle Stick Bar
The Adelaide Swizzle
The Swizzle Stick Bar

 

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans 10 years ago this September, our hearts ached for all our New Orleans friends and family. Lally gamely led David and me through the debris left at Commander’s Palace, and we all envisioned a stronger more defiant city and a sparkling rebuild of the restaurant.

COMMANDERS PALACE GARDEN SHOT

On  March 17, 2007, we were married in Commander’s Palace’s dazzling courtyard. When it was time to promote my first book, Getting Things Off My Chest, Ti and Lally hosted my party at Café Adelaide. Giving back and generously supporting the city, the industry and friends is part of the Brennan family DNA.

family
Dottie Brennan, Lally Brennan and Ti Adelaide Martin with family matriarch, Ella Brennan (Wine Spectator Magazine, 2004)

Aside from being multi-talented restaurateurs, Ti and Lally are co-authors of In the Land of Cocktails: Recipes and Adventures of the Cocktail Chicks.” The Cocktail Chicks are encyclopedic on New Orleans cocktail history and just about everything else in the city’s rich restaurant culture.- post by Melanie Young

IN THE LAND OF COCKTAILS

 

While we’re down in New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail, we’ll visit with Ti and Lally July 15 at The Swizzle Stick Bar on the Connected Table LIVE! and hope you’ll take a seat and tune in to www.W4CY.com 2pm EST/1om CST. This show will also be available on demand at iHeart.com and the iHeart App.

Melanie Young and David Ransom are the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple
Melanie Young and David Ransom are the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple
The Old Cuban Soubou
The Old Cuban
Soubou
Sazerac Soubou (Photo: Max Cusimano)
Sazerac
Soubou
(Photo: Max Cusimano)
Categories
David Ransom Eat Explore Melanie Young THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

Connecting with Chef Alon Shaya

Chef Alon Shaya was born in Israel, raised in Philadelphia and now lives in New Orleans where he oversees the kitchens at Domenica, Pizza Domenica and his namesake Shaya Restaurant, and is a partner in both with Besh Restaurant Group.

Marianna Massey 55
Chef Alon Shaya  (photo credit: Marianna Massey)

He credits cooking with his mother and grandmother for fueling his career in food and the Culinary Institute of America for giving him his formal education. Alon was working as an intern at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas when he met Octavio Mantilla, a co-owner of Besh Restaurant Group. Octavia recruited him to New Orleans, and Chef /Restaurateur John Besh took him under his wing. Alon credits John as the most influential non-familial influence  in his culinary life.

Located in the historic Roosevelt Hotel Domenica is recognized for its straightforward  family-style Italian cooking. The name “Domenica” means “Sunday” in Italian, a day when families in Italy gather for a festive meal overflowing with good food and wine.  Alon spent a year cooking and traveling in Italy to learn from both home and professional kitchens. Uptown, Shaya’s Restaurant serves Alon’s take on Modern Israeli cuisine while utilizing local and seasonal Louisiana ingredients. He went back to Israel in 2014  to immerse himself in the culture and cuisine of his homeland.

I dined at Shaya’s in May. The words “fertile crescent” came to mind. The dishes I tasted conjured a caravan of flavors from a region of the world I long to visit again some day. Fortunately, we have restaurants like Shaya’s that just require a quick trip to OpenTable to snag a coveted table.

Shaya photo

shaya.003

 

It’s been a few good years for Alon: 2015 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Southeast Chef, 2014 Hottest Restaurant (Gayot), 2012 Chef of the Year (New Orleans Magazine).

Hosts Melanie Young and David Ransom are the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple www.theconnectedtable.com
Hosts Melanie Young and David Ransom are the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple www.theconnectedtable.com

Chef Alon Shaya visited with Melanie and David July 8 on The Connected Table LIVE. You can listen to show anytime on iHeart.com and the iHeartApp.  Or cut and paste here:

http://www.iheart.com/show/209-The-Connected-Table-Live/?episode_id=27281944

Follow Melanie and David on Twitter@connectedtable and Like us on Facebook.com/TheConnectedTable

Categories
Drink Events THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

Vision Through a Glass – Ann Tuennerman, Tales of the Cocktail

New Orleans has long been considered the birthplace of the cocktail. In fact there is a Museum of Cocktail located in the city.  Eating and drinking is an essential part of New Orleans’ rich culinary culture, from its storied bars and restaurants and iconic Creole and Cajun dishes to the cocktails that were created there: the Sazerac, the Hurricane, the Grasshopper and New Orleans Ramos Gin Fizz.

Sazerac
Sazerac Cocktail (www.liquor.com)

New Orleans is also the birthplace of the largest gathering of people who work in and for the cocktail and bar profession.  Tales of the Cocktail® is the world’s premier cocktail festival, bringing together the international spirits community for five days of what’s now, what’s new and what’s next in bartending.  The city heats up even more in July when the cocktail cognoscenti arrive. This year’s Tales of the Cocktail® takes place July 15-19.

The brains behind Tales of the Cocktail® is Founder Ann Tuennerman. A New Orleans native and marketing pro, she first started organizing walking tours of the city’s fabled bars in 2002. The following year she launched the first Tales of the Cocktail®. The rest is cocktail industry history. This event has grown into a global gathering with international offspring events in cities like Buenos Aires, Vancouver and Mexico City…and more to come.

Ann Tuennerman, Founder, Tales of the Cocktail
Ann Tuennerman, Founder, Tales of the Cocktail

 

David and I first attended Tales in 2008 and we haven’t missed one since. We’ve connected with so wonderful industry people through Tales, all in the spirit of supporting the industry while having an amazingly fun time. Hey! After all it takes place in New Orleans!

David and Melanie with Tom Bulleit, Bulleit Whiskey (2014 TOTC)
David and Melanie with Tom Bulleit, Bulleit Whiskey (2014 TOTC)

Throughout the year Ann and her team organize events like Tales of the Toddy and a Cocktail Film Festival. More recently they created Tales 365, an exclusive membership service providing  bartenders and spirits professionals access to special programs, networking events and distillery tours.

Tales also gives back to support the community who serves the industry. In 2006, Ann and her husband Paul founded the New Orleans Culinary & Cultural Preservation Society (NOCCPS), which has funded more than half a million dollars in programs to support the hospitality industry through grants, scholarships, cocktail apprenticeships and other programs.

I like to say there are three kinds of people: Those who see the glass half empty; those who see the glass half full and those who seize the opportunity and drink up what’s in the glass. Ann saw opportunity in a glass, drank it up and served more to share with others. – Melanie Young

Ann Tuennerman and Melanie with Sazerac, our Maltese
Ann Tuennerman and Melanie with Sazerac, our Maltese

 

Connect:

www.talesofthecocktail.com

twitter.com/totc

facebook.com/TalesoftheCocktail

instagram.com/tales_of_the_cocktail/

Hear from Ann Tuennerman June 24 on The Connected Table LIVE, 2pmET/1pmCT on W4CY.com, iHeart.com and the iHeart App. Each week we bring you the dynamic people who work front and center and behind the scenes in food, wine, spirits and hospitality. Follow  ups on Twitter@connectedtable and Facebook/TheConnectedTable

THE CONNECTED TABLE BANNER WITH TIMES

Categories
Eat THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

How’s Bayou! Chef David Guas- May 6- The Connected Table

May 4, 2015 – David Ransom and I have a special place in our hearts for New Orleans, the city where we were married in 2007. That’s why it’s a treat to have native New Orleanian David Guas on our May 6th show.

Chef David Guas
Chef David Guas

This Harley-riding southern chef brought his love for New Orleans up the road North to Arlington, VA, where he owns and operates the Bayou Bakery Coffee Bar & Eatery. A second  location opened this month in an historic carriage house on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Both offer discerning eaters a range of comforting options in a leisurely, rustic, counter-service hangout.

David is also the author of two top-rated cookbooks, DamnGoodSweet: Desserts to Satisfy your Sweet tooth, New Orleans Style, and Grill Nation: Surefire Recipes, Tips, and Techniques to Grill Like a Pro. His newest book, Grill Nation: 200 Surefire Recipes, Tips and Techniques to Grill Like a Pro, just came out in time for Summer grilling season.

 Grill Nation

It’s grilling – or should we say grilling chefs behind the grill- where many of David’s fans around the country know him best. He’s host of the high stakes grilling competition television show, American Grilled (Travel Channel).

 

Connect:

http://www.chefdavidguas.com/

http://www.bayoubakeryva.com/

https://www.facebook.com/bayoubakery

https://twitter.com/ChefDavidGuas

https://twitter.com/BayouBakery

THE CONNECTED TABLE BANNER WITH TIMES

Join Melanie Young and David Ransom Wednesdays 2pm ET for The Connected Table LIVE!  on W4CY radio and listen to all our podcasts on iHeart Radio and the iHeart App. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook